Tom Perkins never planned to become a professional pickler until a little more than a year ago. Now he has his own growing business, Perkins Pickles, that is getting ready to open up its own production facility in Hamtramck.
Perkins describes the creation of Perkins Pickles
as accidental. The reporter for AnnArbor.com
has always been a pickle connoisseur. When he lived in Chicago in 2008-09, he and his co-workers would always choose their lunch location based on their search of finding the best pickle in town. Frustrated, Perkins came to a conclusion.
"I finally decided I could do better and made my own," Perkins says. "I never had any intention of starting my own pickle company. I ended up winning a 'pickle-off,' and a friend's dad suggested I turn it into a business."
Perkins spent the last eight months making his pickles in the kitchen of Traffic Jam & Snug
restaurant, which allowed him to create about 30 cases of pickles a week. He has grown his business to a team of 10 people making and selling pickles that appear in retail locations across Metro Detroit.
is now putting the finishing touches on its own space in Hamtramck, at 2635 Caniff, an older house turned retail space. The 1,500 square feet space, set to open late this winter, is coincidentally down the street from a vacant building that was once a pickle factory. That space was too big for Perkins and his team, but the new space will give Perkins Pickles the capacity to increase its production ten fold, to 300 cases per week.
"People image a pickle factory like a Willy Wonka type of thing," Perkins says. "It's nothing like that all."
He points out that half of the space will be used for storage and production filled with brine containers instead of rivers of chocolate. Perkins does expect to continue expanding his team to up to 15 people as orders steadily grow.
Perkins Pickles recently scored some shelf space in Hiller's Markets
, and is aiming to make its products a fixture in supermarkets across Michigan and into Chicago later this year.
Source: Tom Perkins, owner & chief pickler at Perkins Pickles
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.